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Journal Chacham's Journal: Question: On the "Oil Change" idea. (2) 12

Continuing from here.

Looks like the "oil change" idea is getting good response from people i've asked. I still have yet to test it out, but i want to work some things out first. These ideas are from me and other people that i've asked. It's amazing, asking actually gets goods information from people that want to help. Who woulda thought?

Most of this is random ideas in no particular order. I need to get some things worked out before i write an orderly busines plan.

So, here they are, i'd appreciate any comments on it.

Cost must be US $29.95. People will part with twenty, but not with thirty. Maximum is basically $29.95 (though i wonder about lessening it to work it out to be $30 with tax, or just eat the tax myself.) Also, this works well with calling it an oil change, which is usually about the same price in non-cheapo places.

The problem is that the work will take more than a half-hour, or more likely more than an hour. So, although it's money, it's a "loss". However, money can be made on repeat business, now that their computer has all the updates, assuming i'm only there for one-half hour.

Repeat visits should be made every three to five months. Basically, put a sticker on their monitor (not in the viewable area) "reminding" them to get an "oil change" after three months. A postcard, possibly with a discount, can be mailed out in the fourth month.

If extra work is needed, it can be had at $25 for the half-hour. However, this is not promoted, and only mentioned upon request. The idea is the oil change right now, and do not want to get mixed up, or make people uneasy with suggestions.

Oil change is preventative. Currently, most outfits are reactive. Problem happens, come to us. I want to be proactive. To protect the computer *before* the problem happens. Also, to speed things up.

The question than is, what should the oil change consist of. Here's ideas, however this is too much even for a repeat visit. Unless there is an "oil change plus" charging $59.95. I could really use some help here.

Disable startup programs
  config.sys remove just about everything
  autoexec.bat too.
  win.ini remove run and load lines
  HKLM too
  StartUp group, both personal and common

Windows Update (probably carried on CD or external HDD, later additon may inclide cell phone with web access just to make sure).
Office Update, same
Start Defrag before I leave.
AdAware (Spybot....)
Norton System scanning stuff
Virus checker.
Clean ball mouse.
Wipe screen with moist wipe.
IE toolbar stuff
  remove text labels
  remove all buttons besides back, forth, reload, and stop
  make buttons small
  remove "go" "links" and "profile assistant".
  Move buttons and address bart onto same line as menu bar.

Problems may include if I have persmission on the system. Or ther need to have OS or Office cabs with me, for *each* Windows variation out there.

Someone was telling me that defrags on larger harddrives don't do much.

If updates are on a CD, how do i know which updates they need? And how often do i update the CD?

A serious problem is liability. What if the HDD dies when i'm there? Do i need insurance?

I don't want to sell hardware, but i don't mind reccomending it. What happens a upon hardware incompatibility, or opening the case. Am I getting myself into trouble?

How do i know which programs to disable on startup? Office SlowStart is a no brainer. What about palm tools, or other things i may find?

Uninstalling things like Yahoo (for those with Yahoo DSL and installed all the unrequired software (which is everything besides Enternet)). Uninstalling it speeds up *everything*. And most people don't even seem to use the tools. However, what if they do?

Of course removing RealPlayer is a good thing, but some people use it.

Giving people programs to use may be good. A quickie is IrfanView for picture viewing. Many people do not seem to have a decent picture viewer. Irfan is free, easy to use, and handles multiple picure easily. There are probably others too.

I already have an LLC. Probably weill need a DBA for this. So, what to call it?

Hmm.. enough for now. Any ideas, comments, directions?

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Question: On the "Oil Change" idea. (2)

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  • by mfh ( 56 )
    Let me know if you need any programming for this. I can quickly set up a PHP & MySQL database for you to track your customers and handle your mail merges. Sounds like a really cool idea. :-)
    • Let me know if you need any programming for this. I can quickly set up a PHP & MySQL database for you to track your customers and handle your mail merges. Sounds like a really cool idea. :-)

      I agree it's a cool idea, but I suspect he meant Doing Business As (registering a business "alias") from the context (his LLC).

      • by Chacham ( 981 ) *
        I think he knew that. From the context of his own reply.

        But thanx for clearing it up anyway. Can never be _too_ sure. :)
    • by Chacham ( 981 ) *
      Thanx. I can do it myself, but

      1) I appreciate the offer.
      2) I never like doing it all by myself.
      3) You probably have what to offer.


      1) A friend who I should be doing this with is also a programmer.
      2) PostgreSQL is better than MySQL (:-P>


      As for tracking things, PHP isn't required. Just a simple query to print out a list and addresses, then ont a labeler, which probably would be a printer with Avery labels or the like.

      If things get moving, i ought to report it. And your comments and criticisms
      • At the bare minimum, I would like to beta test this for you. With a PHP frontend, you will be able to speed up the process greatly, and it could be released as an open source project.
  • I wouldn't go automatically disabling anything that starts up. Folk actually use that, and many things (like palm desktop) are fine to leave up all the time.

    My suggested procedure:

    1: Check for obvious problems (sudden crashes due to bad capacitors, viruses, blatant malware).

    2: Print out list of what loads at boot time.

    3: Start computer on an auto-update routine.

    4: Discuss with client what boot time loaders they want--remind them that the less they load, they quicker the OS boots & the faster it ru
    • sudden crashes due to bad capacitors

      OK, i'll bite. :)

      How do I check for that?

      Print out list of what loads at boot time.
      Discuss with client what boot time loaders they want

      Good idea.

      Question: If they "don't know", default to disable or enable?

      Start computer on an auto-update routine.

      Update everything?

      Personally, i think IE and the other large updates (Media player, DirectX) are absolute requirements as they update more than enough important files. Reinstalling MDAC (or what it is called now) can
      • How do I check for that?

        Ask if the computer has been crashing unexpectedly. --a sudden reboot, not a soft crash. If so, open the case and visually inspect, with a light source, the capacitors. If they are swollen or burst (there'd be some residue on the motherboard), they need to be replaced.

        (the going rate for re-capping a mobo seems to be about $50, including parts. Allegedly, once you know what you're doing and have the parts, it's only a 1/2 hour job.)

        Question: If they "don't know", default to d
  • The idea is okay, but to be honest I think there are many things that could go wrong. Removing programs, changing configurations and playing around with other peoples hardware is very risky. You just can't go changing stuff without specific authorization. Especially changing visible UI settings, like modifying the IE toolbar could get people annoyed. You could easily destroy your business changing peoples settings to settings you usually use. Don't. It is not your computer. Some people only use the Go-butto

    • Lots of good comments. I disagree with one or two, but no matter. I appreciate you posting!

      As for the hardware profits, i want to be an unbiased reccomender. So selling is a no-no. Maybe quiet fans which is really a service instead of hardware, but not for a while anyway.

      Rememebr, i am a preventer of bad things, an oil change, not a fixer of what is alread bad. (Though i can do that too.)

      As for backup. Takes too long.

      As for finding out what their computer is like already. I ought to be helping the cluel

A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.